Celsius Therapeutics, Twist Bioscience, And More: News From July 2020

July 30, 2020

July 30, 2020 | July featured exciting new, products, and partnerships from around the bio-IT community from innovating companies, organizations, and universities, including Celsius Therapeutics, Twist Bioscience, and more.

Celsius Therapeutics announced the signing of three collaboration agreements with the University of Oxford, Cleveland Clinic, and the LMU University Hospital Munich. In each agreement, Celsius will partner with leading academic scientists to access patient tissue samples and apply its proprietary single-cell genomics platform and machine learning capabilities to discover new insights into inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Under these collaborations, Celsius will evaluate a large number of longitudinal (both pre- and post-treatment) samples, including biopsies from patients who respond to or fail anti-TNFa therapy (University of Oxford); Crohn’s disease patients who develop disease recurrence following intestinal resection (Cleveland Clinic); and children with very early onset IBD (LMU University Hospital Munich). Celsius will integrate single-cell RNA sequencing data from these samples with clinical data provided by its partners to identify novel drug targets and patient stratification approaches for specific patient subsets. Under the terms of each agreement, Celsius retains the ability to incorporate both the de-identified clinical information and longitudinal single-cell genomics data generated from these studies into its large and continuously growing database. Celsius plans to combine the knowledge generated by these agreements with other work using its single-cell genomics and machine learning algorithms to elucidate this complicated disease biology. Further, Celsius will combine these insights with orthogonal data sets derived from functional genomics and other approaches to verify biological mechanisms and validate potential drug targets. Press release

Twist Bioscience announced a partnership with Takeda for access to proprietary phage display libraries for the discovery, validation and optimization of antibodies in Takeda’s pipeline of biologics for oncology, rare diseases, neuroscience, and gastroenterology. Under the terms of the agreement, Twist Biopharma, a division of Twist Bioscience, will license to Takeda its “Library of Libraries,” a panel of synthetic antibody phage display libraries derived only from sequences that exist in the human body. Together, the companies will work to discover, validate and optimize new antibody candidates. In return, Takeda will pay Twist annual technology licensing fees, as well as milestones and royalties for all compounds discovered from the Twist phage display libraries. “We look forward to applying our unique ability to generate robust, diverse and cutting-edge libraries together with Takeda’s deep insight into therapeutic drug discovery and development to truly forge new frontiers in bringing personalized therapies to patients worldwide,” Emily M. Leproust, CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience, said in an official statement. Press release

LabVantage Solutions announced that the newly-released 8.5 edition of its LabVantage platform offers a fully integrated Scientific Data Management System (SDMS). LabVantage SDMS ensures security and control against data loss or modification. The optional SDMS seamlessly interfaces with all elements of the LabVantage platform, including LIMS (laboratory information management system), ELN (electronic laboratory notebook), and LES (laboratory execution system). LabVantage 8.5 also includes a new and comprehensive Configuration Management and Transfer (CMT) feature for greater LIMS administration productivity and better control, along with a number of enhancements that make the LabVantage ELN easier to use. “During these challenging times, we are especially proud to release LabVantage 8.5, which represents a major advance reflecting our commitment to making the advantages of digital transformation fully accessible to our customers,” said John Heiser, CEO of LabVantage, in a press release. “LabVantage 8.5’s fully integrated SDMS is specifically designed for the LabVantage platform and provides major benefits to laboratory managers, with the aim of making their operations more efficient, productive, and secure. Our user-friendly, all-in-one SDMS offers seamless, continuous data integrity. Importantly, it allows managers to secure all of their data, not just the final results.” The integrated SDMS automatically collects and protects all instrument and other relevant laboratory data as it is generated, which provides a rich informatics and analytical resource that enables better lab management, improved quality, and enhanced security. Full integration means that all relevant lab-generated data is collected automatically and rapidly made available to laboratory staff. Importantly, integration ensures data integrity and security by eliminating the need to transfer data between system components or to leave it with the instrument system, typically a weak link in the process. Press release

The Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute has created the OneChain Immunotherapeutics (OCI) spin-off, the aim of which is to develop new immuno-oncological therapeutic tools with various preclinical candidates, based on CAR-T technology for different tumors, such as cortical T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (coT-ALL), a rare subtype of leukemia that mainly affects children, and which has a poor prognosis. The spin-off is being funded initially through a round of seed capital provided by Invivo Ventures, the Ministry of Industry, through CDTI-Innvierte, and the Josep Carreras Foundation, and it clearly makes the case for bringing the research carried out by Dr. Pablo Menéndez's group closer to patients. Dr. Mendez is an ICREA research professor and the scientific director at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute's Hospital Clínic-UB Campus. "OCI is the vehicle that will enable us to take all the work we have been doing over all these years and apply it to clinical use,” Dr. Menéndez said in an official statement. “At the academic level it is very complicated to develop these strategies and manage all the regulatory mechanisms associated with the development of a product. OCI will enable us to carry out all the necessary steps so that all our knowledge can be available to patients." Press release

VantAI and TARA Biosystems announced the launch of a biology-driven, AI-enabled collaboration for accelerated cardiac drug development. The partnership will leverage TARA’s state-of-the-art in vitro human biology models and VantAI’s leading computational drug discovery capabilities to identify and develop new therapies to fight cardiac disease. Combining the power of VantAI’s machine learning-enabled gene-disease mapping techniques with the rich, high-fidelity phenotypic data generated from TARA’s in vitro human cardiac disease models, TARA and VantAI will identify novel drug targets linked to cardiac disease. Then, the team will use VantAI’s in silico platform to produce novel molecules that effectively modulate these targets, many of which have been previously considered “undruggable.” VantAI’s platform will prioritize modality strategies and use generative approaches to design precise chemistry that is effective while also displaying favorable pharmaceutical properties. The functional response of these novel molecules will then be evaluated in TARA’s induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human cardiac tissue models, which include a repertoire of healthy, gene-edited, patient-derived, and drug-induced phenotypes of human disease. The TARA models represent a highly versatile platform for capturing robust physiologic endpoints of human cardiac function, including contractility, electrophysiology, calcium signaling, structure, as well as genomic, proteomic, and metabolic profiles. These comprehensive experimental results will be fed back to VantAI’s in silico platform to both power further refinement of lead candidates and expand the VantAI-TARA joint data graph view of cardiac disease systems. Press release